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Activist investor says deal will undervalue WSJ parent

An activist investor escalated pressure on News Corp. on Sunday, asking it to reconsider a proposal to combine the two parts of his media business, News Corp. and Fox, saying it will undervalue the owner of The Wall Street Journal, reports Lauren Hirsch of the New York Times.

Hirsch reports, “It’s the second time Irenic has requested a meeting. Last month, Irenic did so as it urged News Corp to explore splitting its online real estate listings unit from its other businesses, including The Wall Street Journal, HarperCollins and The New York Post. It said in its letter on Sunday that it also wants News Corp to consider spinning off its Dow Jones media properties. The firm contends that News Corp’s stock, now trading at $18 a share, could be worth $34 a share. It is being advised by executives including Jon Miller, a former chief digital officer of News Corp.

“The letter is aimed at putting pressure on the special committees that both Fox and News Corp have appointed to evaluate Mr. Murdoch’s proposal. He has significant say in the matter: The Murdoch Family Trust, which Rupert Murdoch controls with his eldest children, commands roughly 40 percent of the vote at both Fox and News Corp through its more powerful Class B shares. But any deal requires the approval of a majority of investors who are not part of the Murdoch trust.”

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